Facebook is the first company to gain observer status with GNI, whose corporate members include Microsoft, Yahoo! and Google. Photo: AFP/Leon Neal
Facebook's privacy notice, which users of the social site might have seen as a status update masquerading in their news feeds in the last month, is a hoax.
There are several versions of the notice, all of them suggesting that by making a declaration that the user's content is protected is simply not true.
The myth-busting site Snopes.com debunked the viral status update on Monday, claiming that the disclaimer will not provide privacy protection on Facebook.
According to CBS News, the privacy notice posted at Slate read, "For those of you who do not understand the reasoning behind this posting, Facebook is now a publicly traded entity. Unless you state otherwise, anyone can infringe on your right to privacy once you post to this site."
"It is recommended that you and other members post a similar notice as this, or you may copy and paste this version. If you do not post such a statement once, then you are indirectly...allowing public use of items such as your photos and the information contained in your status updates," it added.
Snopes makes two points: Facebook members must agree to the social network's legal terms before they can even create a profile and Facebook's status as a public company does not affect who the site is monitored.
The fact is that Facebook members own the intellectual property (IP) that is uploaded to the social network, but depending on their privacy and applications settings, users grant the social network "a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook (IP License)."
"[t]his IP License ends when you delete your IP content or your account unless your content has been shared with others, and they have not deleted it," Facebook confirmed.
While the social network does not technically own its members content, it has the right to use anything that is not protected with Facebook's privacy and applications settings. For instance, photos, videos and status updates set to public are fair game.s far as content rights between Facebook members go, it is learnt that it is against the social network's policy for users to infringe on each other's IP rights.